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Keep illegal software off Andersen's computers

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  • 36th Communications Squadron
During the last few months, more than 6,000 illegal software downloads have been removed from official government computers on Andersen.

The recent push to clean the network first stemmed from the 36th Wing Information Assurance Office establishing a software management and monitoring program in accordance with AFI 33-114.

"The goal of the program is to ensure there are no vulnerabilities in the network due to unauthorized software," said Master Sgt. Brian Bennett, 36th Wing Information Assurance officer. "PACAF has a list of approved software, all of which had to be tested and verified to ensure they did not cause network vulnerabilities."

In July 2006, the Andersen Network Control Center scanned the base network for illegal software titles and the results were alarming, said Sergeant Bennett. More than 8,000 unauthorized software titles were identified, ranging from iPod music software, DVD conversion software and, of course, games.

Sergeant Bennett said a notice was sent to the offending organizations, and with the recent Air Force Standard Desktop Configuration initiative in November that re-configured each desktop to a set standard, the number of illegal downloads has drastically dropped.

"But it's still way too high," he added.

To correct the problem, a local software management operating instruction has been established.

"The Client Support Administrators are the key to ensuring only authorized licensed software is loaded onto government computers," said Staff Sgt. Ernest Jones, 36th Wing software manager.

The NCC performs weekly scans of the network. "If there is illegal software on the network, we can pinpoint the exact machine and inform the owning CSA to have it removed," explained Sergeant Jones. "If the software is not removed, then the machine itself can be locked out of the network."

Lt. Col. Craig Hess, 36th Communications Squadron commander, acknowledged that there is a concern.

"Everyone is aware of our 'phishing' scenarios to help educate our network users on safeguarding the Andersen domain, but we need to be just as vigilant in ensuring only approved licensed software is being used," he said.

The defense of our network and our data is everyone's responsibility. By keeping government computers loaded with only authorized licensed software, it improves overall network security and makes hacker intrusions easier to detect.

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